Welcome to new tutor Rev Dr Helen Collins
This autumn we are excited to welcome a new Tutor in Pastoral and Ministerial Studies. Rev Dr Helen Collins will be overseeing student placements, while also teaching pastoral theology and some aspects of Anglican formation. Tutor Sue Gent, who had been overseeing placements, will now become Director of Mixed Mode Training and continue as Director of the Part-time Programme. Take a minute to find out more about Helen…
Q: How did you first come to have an interest in ordination and the church?
A: I initially got a place at Oxford University to read chemistry, but within a week, I knew I could never be fulfilled around test tubes and Bunsen burners and so changed to read theology, and I have never looked back. I sensed a call to ordained ministry at this point, but my mum was going through the ordination process and the last thing I wanted to do at 21 was copy her, so I trained as a primary school teacher. I worked abroad in schools in Egypt and Russia before getting married, moving to London, and studying for an MA in the Social Anthropology of Religion at Kings College London, while working as a Children, Families and Community Worker at a church. It was here that I finally stopped running from my calling and went to BAP when my eldest daughter was just 3 months old.
I had the delightful pleasure to train at Trinity College for two years in 2010, when I began my PhD research into charismatic worship and motherhood. Our second daughter was also born during our time at Trinity, and so the college holds very special memories. I served my curacy in South Bristol, where our energetic youngest son joined the family. I have been working for Bristol Diocese for the past two years as the Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Warden of Readers with responsibility for IME phase 2 training and the strategic development of vocations across the diocese.
Q: What are you most excited about in your new role?
A: In my previous role as DDO, it was an extraordinary privilege to walk with people as they discerned their vocation to ordained ministry, and I got much satisfaction from seeing people grow in Christlikeness through the process. I am therefore very excited to play an ongoing role in ministerial formation in the next phase of the journey. I’m also pleased to be continuing to work with my clergy colleagues around Bristol Diocese and beyond as we partner together in forming a new generation of church leaders. It is also exciting to have an opportunity to further develop my passion for practical theology, and hopefully be able to share some of the fruit of my research with others. So there is lots I am excited about!
Q: How can we pray for you as you begin at Trinity?
A: Our move to Trinity has meant an upheaval for my family, so prayers that they settle well into schools etc would be much appreciated. I would also value prayer for a smooth transition of responsibilities as Sue and Paul [Roberts] hand over some of their areas of work to me, and, finally, that I can be all God has called me to be in this role.